The British Heroic Age

A History, 367–664

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About the Book

Drawing on historical documents, legends, archeology and literature, this history describes the disintegration of Roman Britain that reached a climax in the decades after the Britons overthrew Constantine’s government and were refused Roman rule. Beginning with the weakening of Roman Britain, the author chronicles the breakdown of the empire’s social, political and economic order and the re-emergence of British political, economic and social structure as well as a parallel development among the Germanic invaders. The roles of religion, disease, the military, the Irish and the Picts during the 4th through 7th centuries are examined. This study synthesizes advances in post–Roman studies since Leslie Alcock’s 1971 classic Arthur’s Britain.

About the Author(s)

Flint F. Johnson is an independent scholar whose academic areas of interest include post–Roman British history, Heroic Age Greek and Norse history, and the cultures existing before the first river valley civilizations. He lives in Hudson, Wisconsin.

Bibliographic Details

Flint F. Johnson
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 284
Bibliographic Info: maps, glossary, chronology, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2017
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9522-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2611-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments vi

Preface 1

Introduction 5

Interpretations and Sources

 1. A Political History 9

 2. The Evidence: Roman Sources 13

 3. The Evidence: Native Sources 25

 4. The Evidence: The Northern Memorandum and the Kentish Source 47

Britannia

 5. Roman Society 61

 6. Britain: 367–410 66

 7. Picts, Irish and the Germanic Raiders 71

410 Through the Early Sixth Century

 8. The ­Romano-Britons 77

 9. The Germanic Foederati in the Fifth Century 84

10. The Irish in the Fifth Century 86

11. The Picts 90

12. The Rise of British Kingships 92

13. Heroic Age ­Politico-Economic Dynamics 96

14. The Early Kings 100

15. The ­Germanic-Controlled Territories 114

Sixth Century Celtic Kingships

16. Growing Pains of British Kingship 117

17. The New Economic System 119

18. Arthur 122

19. 530–600: An Expanding View 126

20. Rhun son of Maelgwn 129

21. Battle of Arfderyð 132

22. Urien’s Alliance and Y Gododdin 135

23. Gwrtheyrn 138

24. 530–580: The Setting for the Rise of Germanic Kingships 144

25. 550–575: Columban Dal Riata 147

26. The Decline of the British Kingdoms 151

Rise of the Germanic Kingships: Late Sixth Century to 664

27. Germanic Kingship 155

28. The Southumbrian Theater 158

29. The Northumbrian Theater 165

30. Between the Thames and the Humber 171

31. An Interwoven History: 600–664 174

Religion in Post-Roman Britain

32. The Age of Saints 193

33. Religion as a Political Tool 196

34. Native Religions 200

35. The Dark Ages 204

Appendix: The Vortigern Figure 209

Chronology: 367–664 212

Glossary 215

Guide to Period Sources 217

Chapter Notes 222

Bibliography 249

Index 267